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RadioGeorge
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Phantom MP3 files--playing files that don't exist--what's the deal here?

I have an online radio program that is 100% recorded, not streamed live. It consists of 9 mp3 tracks which play consecutively, using an mp3 flash player that was designed specifically to play tracks in order as long as they have number prefixes in the filenames. For example:

1-Hour1Segment1.mp3
2-CommercialBreak1.mp3
3-Hour1Segment2.mp3
4-CommercialBreak2.mp3

Every Sunday night, new files for the next week are uploaded to the folder where they're stored. The files are always named the same, so the uploaded files simply overwrite and replace the existing ones.

This system has been working flawlessly for over a year, but last night, SOMETHING happened that I can't explain, so I need expert help.

After uploading the new files, I opened the Internet page where visitors click on the player to listen, to give it a test whirl to make sure everything is O.K. When I did so,  instead of hearing the new file, I heard the "old" one that I had  just replaced!

Then, after confirming that the new (replacement) file was indeed uploaded by making sure that the name was identical, as well as by the upload time notation, I downloaded the file in question (1-Hour1Segment1.mp3) and listened to it in a different standard mp3 player on my computer, just to make sure it was the new file, and it was. I even uploaded it again, and tried the Internet page where the player plays, and it STILL played the previous week's file.

How is this possible? How could the player be playing a file that no longer existed?

I downloaded the internet page, looked at the coding (old fashioned HTML) and everything was fine, no problems.

Then, about half an hour later, I tried the player on the Internet page and everything was FINE! It was O.K. and working as it should work!

For what it's worth, there are two other players on the same page that function in the same way, simply playing music from two other folders. The second one, containing new tracks that were uploaded right after the first one was uploaded, worked normally, playing the newly-uploaded tracks. The third one had the same problem as the first. It was also "magically" resolved at about the same time as the first one started working properly.

So, experts, what the heck is this all about? Any way to prevent it from happening again?

Looking forward to hearing from you on this!

Radio George
Digital AudioMultiMedia ApplicationsWeb Components

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BillDL

8/22/2022 - Mon
SOLUTION
Dave Baldwin

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Merete

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RadioGeorge

ASKER
Merete--either I'm very confused or your reply just doesn't make sense.

First of all, what exactly is a "library file?"

Next, you say ..."since the files are on my system..." What system? My computer? My site on the domain host?

The files that are uploaded have the EXACT SAME names as the ones that are in a folder  within a folder on the site. When I upload a new file, it appears to overwrite the one already there, as I get a pop-up message from my FTP program saying there's a file already there with the same name and do I want to overwrite it.

That says to me that once I upload the new file, it blows off the old one. It is no longer there. It ceases to exist. How can it be otherwise? The date/time stamp that appears clearly show that the file that was there is gone, and has been replaced by the new one.

Also, I called a friend 40 miles away and asked him to test it--and he got the same results as I did.

I need an explanation from you that is more simple and specific so I can truly understand what you're saying. Thanks for your time.
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RadioGeorge

ASKER
OK, gang.....

Merete: I use a couple of different FTP programs: Cute FTP, FireFTP, and Filezilla. I use Cute FTP most often, and have been using Filezilla a lot. As for the "small .dat or text file in the folder where the new music is uploaded from," I checked and see nothing like that. I'm pretty sure I DID have some type of "FTP.dat" file that appeared after uploading using WS FTP some years ago.

Bill: Thanks for checking in again and for doing the investigative work you have done so far.

Dewplayer was a recent addition for weekly promos. I'll comment on that in a moment.

You are right on the money with regards to the three different types of players (jazz, oldies, variety) and how they are configured. Note, just for your information, that a recent coding change allows me to use any graphic I choose as a skin, and I have just completed "re-skinning" a number of players, so as to not use always use one of the main three original images (which are still in use, of course). I'm guessing that this change has no effect on the "phantom" situation we're discussing here, since the change only affects graphics.

You say "I presume that the actual *.SWF player file is exactly the same file, but you have just renamed it for each channel and placed them in the respective folders." Not being that technically up to speed on this, I don't think the three main players are EXACTLY the same, because as you can see, the song title-artist-source info that appears while selections are playing appears in a different location for each of those players. (ALthough I'm guessing this doesn't make much of a difference.)

Next, you say " You asked recently about joining MP3 files and ID3 tagging, and the names of the MP3s you are asking about here would appear to be very long MP3s containing lots of MP3s that you have joined together.  Are you trying to break out of having long playlists that specify each of the songs and make it simpler with less MP3s that are composites?"

The answer to the longer playlists question is yes. I append commercials to each segment in SOME instances (but not the ones in question--you'll see the exact outline in a moment here.)

 
The MP3 files themselves range from 8 minutes to as much as 17 minutes, so they're big files, for sure. However, the filenames are always short, as in : 8-COS-2-4.mp3

Most of my files contain from 4 to 12 tracks.

The specific page where the phantom question came up is The Neon Beat page, which has three players (all the same type), each of which plays files from folders named Hour1, Hour2, and Hour3. The problem last Sunday was the first one of it kind since The Neon Beat part of the site started on February 1 of 2011.

Now,  let me throw a good-sized moneywrench into this whole deal.....

For the sake of speed, in my original posting I condensed what apparently is a very important part of my description of the phantom situation. Let me revise and explain fully.

Each Sunday night, the show host/producer of The Neon Beat uploads the new music files from his studio in another city. Here's a listing of the files he uploads:

1-Hour1Segment1.mp3
3-Hour1Segment2.mp3
5-Hour1Segment3.mp3
7-Hour1Segment4.mp3
9-Hour1Segment5.mp3


And from my studio, in my home in a different city, I upload:

2-CommercialBreak1.mp3
4-CommercialBreak2.mp3
6-CommercialBreak3.mp3
8-CommercialBreak4.mp3

[Side comment: the player that plays the files for this page is configured to play ALL files in the folder in sequential order, as indicated by the numbering system above. It allows for a seamless listening experience, and a minimal amount of work, letting the player "put it all together" automatically.]

Of course, we are each uploading our respective sets of mp3s into the "Hour1"  (or 2 or 3)folders on the website (hosted by Hostmonster--I believe they're in Utah). We use the SAME FILE NAMES so that when we upload each week, the files we send overwrite the one that are there.

THe phantom phenomenon took place on HIS computer as well as mine. That leads me to believe that it's not a matter of a cache issue on my computer. In this specifcal case, hours 1 and 3 were still last week's mp3s while Hour 2 started with the newf mp3s for that order, no problem.

Remember that maybe half an hour after the discovery of the problem, everything was fine on my computer and that of the show host--who does NOT use the same audio programs or equipment I use.

I dropped a line to Hostmonster support and they said there is no delay in updating on their end.

Now, regarding Dewplayer on the home page. I started using this about 4 weeks ago. It plays back a small mp3 file which is placed in the main website directory. The same name is used each week for the files for the 3 Dewplayers on the home page, so that they are overwritten. I HAVE noticed that several times after uploading the files, the "old" ones have still played, and again, after some period of time, the "new" ones were playing just fine.

So here we are, and the mystery remains a mystery. Note that this reply I am posting is being posted the day before the weekly update time. If ayone has any thoughts on monitoring or trying something that would prevent this before Sunday night (Central Time), get your reply back to me pronto!
Merete

Hi  RadioGeorge, sorry can't add anything further.
BillDL did an excellent investigation and may have uncovered one of the causes, you added>Dewplayer was a recent addition for weekly promos.<< possibly here in lies the key.
Just keep an eye on things maybe after a small time period everything will update correctly again.
Could be something as simple as the public is accessing/playing your music on the page 24/7 and never turned off their system so may have caused a lag somewhere updating the logs, could be a time frame thing as well.
I'm in Australia.
Thank you and best wishes with it
Regards Merete
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William Peck
BillDL

Hi George, and thanks for accepting my comment.

I'm seething mad though, because on Saturday 14th or maybe Sunday morning (GMT time) I typed up a fairly lengthy comment that addressed your last comment, and it hasn't posted here.  I clicked the "submit" button, watched it go, and saw it added as a new comment in the page, and here I am returning to the question and my comment isn't here :-(  Grrrrrr!!

The reason I am so adamant that I posted the comment is because I noted the very last sentence you added about the MP3 updates to be done on the Sunday night and I was anxious to add a couple of ideas before then.  Me being on GMT time meant that I am al the least 5 hrs ahead of you, and at most (unless Hawaii) 8 hrs ahead, so you would have seen the comment before Sunday night your time.

This is really maddening, and it's not the first time this has happened recently.  I am not sure whether I typed up in text editor then copied and pasted or whether I typed it all right here.  I will look and see if I saved any of the contents I posted.

How did it go on Sunday night anyway?  Any similar glitches?

Bill
BillDL

There.  I typed a comment above this.  Let's see if THAT vapourises.